Why Are We So Afraid Of Change?

Change is constant throughout your 20s.

First, there’s the growing up that happens when you leave your teenage years and enter “adulthood” AKA you’re now an upperclassmen at college (everything is changing!). Then there’s the realization that house parties actually suck and you can’t go to them anymore because you’re too old. Hello, bars (everything is changing!). Then there’s that awful part of life where you graduate college and everyone starts moving all over the country and you have to start a new life too, and also somehow get a job (everything is changing!). And then, after you start to adjust to this new life and feel some consistency, everything changes again. Because that’s what your 20s are all about apparently: Change.

I never thought I would see as much change in my life as I did when I drove those miserable 6 hours back to Boston from Ithaca, NY after graduating college, probably crying while listening to Elton John (well, at least some things never change guys). But then I turned 25. And I did.

I didn’t realize the extent of the changes occurring around me until I became closer in age to 26. It was almost as if I spent the majority of my year as a 25 year old climbing to the top of a hill and when I made it to the top, I  started to panic because I had no idea how I was going to get back down on this new, other side.

Now, by no means am I trying to say that 25 is over the hill, but once you get past this milestone of an age, you do climb over a hill… a smaller hill than the one you climb at 50 I imagine. But a hill is a hill. And this is definitely one you could snowboard on.

I have seen a significant number of people get engaged, and a significant number of people break up because they know they are never going to marry that person. I have witnessed a number of people struggle with this dilemma, since once you hit the age of 26 it seems like a waste of time to date someone you know you’re not actually going to marry. Our 20s are fleeting — now is the time to be a drunken single mess. Right?! Or was that time supposed to be our early 20s?

But anyway – because of these very bold relationship choices taking place, friendships are changing as well. Couples are starting to move in together — some purchasing homes in the ‘burbs — further separating those who are taken from those who are single. Singles want to go out with other singles to get their single on and hopefully maybe not be single forever, and couples want to be couple-y with other couples — or, let’s be serious, sit on the couch binge eating pizza because who is there to impress anymore when you’re in a relationship post-25? OR these co-habitating couples are just depressed they don’t live with friends anymore because they are suddenly realizing THIS. IS. IT.

And jumping off of WHO people are living with, people are starting to move all over the place in general. I lived at home for a year after college and then moved out, 30 minutes down the road into the city. Now, I’ve been living in the same area for the past 3 years and have re-signed myself for yet another year in these parts because, well, CHANGE… no thanks. But while I stay put in the area I’ve grown to call home – where I’ve basically been in walking distance of all of my friends for the past couple of years – people around me are moving. Some to different parts of the country, some to different parts of the state, and others to different parts of the city. And no matter if they’re moving hundreds of miles away or maybe 1 mile down the road, I still get sad thinking about how these changes will affect my life, which is probably the most selfish thing I can ever do because I know these people are getting even more sad about the changes that are going to take place for them.

And just as situations change, people change too. Feelings change. People grow apart. Friends outgrow each other. Couples develop different wants and needs in their relationships. People become attracted to different people. Most of us don’t admit these things though because CHANGE, and let relationships and friendships play out even though they are just not right anymore.

But why are we so afraid of change? Change is a constant part of life, and it’s not going anywhere. Sometimes we can control it, like choosing to move elsewhere or date a certain person, and sometimes we can’t. Just like we can’t control our friends and family members decisions to move and make significant life changes, we can’t control our feelings. And that is life.

What I’ve realized – or at least what I keep telling myself over and over – is that whenever change happens, we always adjust… and eventually, we get sad when when things change again. So do I really want to continue to sit back and make absolutely no changes with my life because I’m afraid? Because while I sit back in fear, other people are going to move ahead with life and I’ll just be left behind. That wouldn’t be okay, would it?

We really need to stop fearing change. We need to live life and do what makes us happy. Not what is safe. Not what is familiar. Don’t stay put because you’re comfortable. Take risks. Make changes. Because without change, life wouldn’t be life.

Now if only I could listen to my own advice…

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

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